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Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

  • Trump ultimately decided not to fire Rosen after DOJ officials unanimously decided they would resign if the then-president went through with the plan, The Times reported. The acting attorney general and Clark also each made their case in a "bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show 'The Apprentice.'"

Clark "categorically" denied that he crafted a plan to oust Rosen, per the Times and Washington Post, which also reported the alleged plan.

  • "Nor did I formulate recommendations for action based on factual inaccuracies gleaned from the Internet," Clark noted, according to the Post.
  • “There were no ‘maneuver[s].’ There was a candid discussion of options and pros and cons with the President. It is unfortunate that those who were part of a privileged legal conversation would comment in public about such internal deliberations, while also distorting any discussions. ... Observing legal privileges, which I will adhere to even if others will not, prevent me from divulging specifics regarding the conversation.”
  • The DOJ, Rosen and Trump declined to comment to the Times. An adviser told the paper that the justice system should investigate "rampant election fraud that has plagued our system for years."

What he's saying: "Unconscionable a Trump Justice Department leader would conspire to subvert the people's will," Schumer tweeted Saturday.

  • "The Justice Dept Inspector General must launch an investigation into this attempted sedition now," he added.
  • "And the Senate will move forward with Trump's impeachment trial," slated for the week of Feb. 8.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on Trump's impeachment trial: "I think it has to happen"

President Biden told CNN Monday that he believes the impeachment trial of former President Trump "has to happen," but he does not think 17 Republicans will join Democrats to vote to convict.

Why it matters: Biden's comments are most concrete he has made about his views on Trump's second impeachment.

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House delivers article of impeachment against Trump to Senate

House Impeachment managers accompany the formal article of impeachment as they walk through the Rotunda to deliver them to the U.S. Senate. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House managers on Monday delivered the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate.

Why it matters: The expected move formally triggers preparations for the trial. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last week that the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8.

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy to preside over Trump's second impeachment trial

Sen. Patrick Leahy heads to the Senate floor on Nov. 9. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is expected to preside over former President Trump's second impeachment trial, a Senate source tells Axios. CNN first reported Leahy's role.

Why it matters: The Constitution requires the chief justice of the Supreme Court to preside over a sitting president's impeachment trial rather than the vice president — who has the title of president of the Senate — to avoid a potential conflict of interest. However, there is no precedent for a former president.